Faculty Profile

Mara Donaldson

Professor of Religion (1990)

Contact Information


East College Room 207


Her teaching focuses on contemporary religious thought, especially feminist and liberation theologies, and religion and art, including contemporary fantasy literature, film, and popular culture.


  • B.A., Wilson College, 1971
  • M.A., Vanderbilt University, 1974
  • Ph.D., Emory University, 1984

2016-2017 Academic Year

Fall 2016

FYSM 100 First-Year Seminar
The First-Year Seminar (FYS) introduces students to Dickinson as a "community of inquiry" by developing habits of mind essential to liberal learning. Through the study of a compelling issue or broad topic chosen by their faculty member, students will: - Critically analyze information and ideas - Examine issues from multiple perspectives - Discuss, debate and defend ideas, including one's own views, with clarity and reason - Develop discernment, facility and ethical responsibility in using information, and - Create clear academic writing The small group seminar format of this course promotes discussion and interaction among students and their professor. In addition, the professor serves as students' initial academic advisor. This course does not duplicate in content any other course in the curriculum and may not be used to fulfill any other graduation requirement.

RELG 214 Hist of Christ.: Reform/Modern
The course concentrates on the emergence of the Protestant tradition in the 16th century and the Catholic response. Considers the impact of the Enlightenment on both Protestant and Catholic self-understanding.

RELG 500 Independent Study

Spring 2017

RELG 110 Religion and Modern Culture
Drawing upon popular examples from film, drama, and narrative, as well as critical essays, the course explores both the religious dimensions of modern culture myth, sacred space and time, nature spirituality and the cultural contexts of contemporary theologies gender, race, economics.

RELG 250 Mother Earth
This course explores the following: the ways religious traditions both contribute to the environmental crisis and provide resources for addressing that crisis; the emergence of sustainability as a defining value in colleges and universities; the roles that Bill McKibben as a writer and climate change activist continues to play in promoting conversations and policy decisions related to values grounded in religious, spiritual, and scientific values.